Mirae Asset Global Investments China office/Courtesy of Mirae Asset Global Investments

Seoul-based financial giant’s assets near $150 billion

South Korea has been recognized as a powerhouse in manufacturing as the country is the home of such global giants as Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor.

But Asia’s fourth-largest economy also houses financial behemoths, which are briskly tapping into the overseas markets to compete with multinational players.

Spearheading the move is Mirae Asset Global Investments, which is dealing with about 1,700 products in some 36 countries on the back of its global experiences over the past two decades.

The Seoul-based asset management company said Thursday that its assets under management amounted to 172 trillion won ($146 billion) as of the end of last month.

Among them, almost half was invested outside of the country. In other words, observers point out that Mirae Asset is a genuinely diversified global investment manager.

Powered by a unique perspective and the expertise of our global investment professionals, we adapt to our clients’ evolving needs, providing them with innovative investment solutions and intelligent ways to achieve their investment objectives,” a Mirae Asset official said.

We currently invest over $146 billion on behalf of clients, giving us the scale and experience to identify opportunities in a changing world.”

Although the world is suffering from woes over the economic downturn due to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, watchers expect that Mirae Asset will be able to overcome the troubles.

Indeed, the company has track records of having grappled with crisis to accelerate its growth as amply demonstrated by its fast expansion after the global financial crisis in the late 2000s.

Market observers pointed out that it is a tall task to amass assets of almost $150 billion.

“We have to admit that Mirae Asset has pioneered the country’s advancement into the global markets in the financial segments,” said a source in the investment industry. “Without Mirae Asset, we might be still stuck in the national border in the financial investment.”

17-year history of globalization

Mirae Asset first waded into the international market in 2003 by founding its unit in Hong Kong. Two years later, it came up with an overseas fund for the first time among Korean players.

In 2006, it established a subsidiary in India.

During the financial swoon in the late 2000s, most multinational asset management companies left the world’s second-populous country.

But Mirae Asset continued to invest in the potential-laden market to become one of the most prominent foreign outfits. It currently runs assets of about $6 billion in India.

In 2008, the entity made a foray into the U.S. market before entering such countries as the U.K., Brazil, Canada, and Australia.

In 2018, Mirae Asset took over Global X, which specializes in ETFs, and set up a joint venture in Vietnam, while acquiring a license to run a private equity fund in China.

When it comes to ETFs, Mirae Asset is second to none in Korea and is a top-tier competitor in the international scene.

An ETF is an exchange-traded fund, which tracks a stock index. It differs from mutual funds as its shares trade like a common stock on an exchange, and their prices move up and down like ordinary shares.

Mirae Asset has also showcased its competitive edge in the real estate business by racking up successes through investments in foreign landmark buildings.

In addition, the firm gained wide attention last September by gobbling up 15 top-end hotels in the United States in a mega-sized contract, which was valued at more than $5.8 billion.

The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at voc200@gmail.com or 82-2-6956-6698.